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Essential COVID-19 tips marketers must know right now

By Mihaela Lica Butler | April 10, 2020

The global COVID-19 crisis reshapes the way we do business offline and online. Businesses - including real estate - are going to struggle for a while. For instance, mortgage applications plummeted 24% compared to 2019, while refinancing applications recorded an increase of 168%.

Recent estimates predict that home sales could fall by 35% annually this spring, compared with the last quarter of 2019 (Capital Economics). Realtors are canceling open houses and the buyer interest has dropped too, according to the National Association of Realtors cited by CNBC.

“The decline in confidence related to the direction of the economy coupled with the unprecedented measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, including major social distancing efforts nationwide, are naturally bringing an abundance of caution among buyers and sellers,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR.

Home sales could fall 35%, as coronavirus stalls spring housing market, new analysis says

Most facets of marketing change or must adapt to circumstances beyond our control. SEO must adapt like everything else. Here are the things realtors should know about search engine marketing right now:

google search engine

Most websites - besides government sites, entertainment, publishers, medical supplies, and essentials - experience a decline in web traffic. Essential businesses still open to consumers during the crisis see an unprecedented influx of traffic.

1. Update your Google My Business information

Regardless of the nature of your business, the most important thing to do right now to help consumers and your SEO is to update your Google My Business information:

  • Change your business hours or mark your business as temporarily closed
  • Edit your business description and explain how it is affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Download the Google My Business app and turn on messaging to enable your customers to get in touch with you.
  • Use Posts on Google to communicate essential information to your consumers.  To make sure COVID-19 content is more noticeable to your customers, use the new COVID-19 update type in your Google My Business dashboard.
Let customers know about any changes to your business due to COVID-19

2. Make use of schema for Coronavirus 7.0 now includes new vocabulary to assist the global response to the Coronavirus outbreak in the form of a SpecialAnnouncement, which combines a date-stamped textual information update with contextualized Web links and other structured data, including location. The purpose of this technical SEO tool is to assist website owners in communicating urgent crisis-related information timely and clearly.

3. Create content to satisfy the new user demands

With more time to stay at home, users consume more video content than ever before. If you didn't have a video content strategy, it's time to start. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, most Facebook services, including voice and video calls on WhatsApp and Messenger and Facebook Live videos are experiencing a big surge. eMarketer highlighted that video is among the top forms of content preferred by consumers, with a special focus on sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video as the main contenders.

A March 2020 survey by Statista has revealed interesting data on the impact of the coronavirus on in-home media consumption around the world. People staying at home read more, watch more news coverage, listen to more audio-books, radio, and podcasts, and spending more time on messaging services and social media.

Choosing the right content and content delivery platform should be a priority for every marketer. For example, while social distancing and movement restrictions in many countries around the world force realtors to cancel their open houses, organizing a virtual tour is still possible with a smartphone camera. Other types of technology may be available depending on location and local legislation.

Offer your clients three-dimensional interactive property scans (via Matterport, Cupix, EyeSpy360); host a virtual tour or help your seller conduct a live tour using Skype or Facebook; and use virtual staging to showcase a property.

NAR: Open House Guidance During COVID-19

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Mihaela Lica Butler is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She is a widely cited authority on public relations issues, with an experience of over 25 years in online PR, marketing, and SEO.She covers startups, online marketing, social media, SEO, and other topics of interest for Realty Biz News.
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